If you want to make an olive oil lover happy—over the moon kind of happy—give him or her an annual membership to Grove and Vine.
Partners Nicholas Coleman and Dan Amatuzzi are chasing the olive oil harvest around the world, finding the best producers they can, and bringing back fresh olive oil to members, four times a year.
You’ll possibly be gifting a life-altering moment.
“Anyone who’s ever had fresh olive oil within a couple of weeks of pressing—they’ll always remember where they were, who they were with, what they were eating at the time,” Coleman said.
That’s because freshness is one of the key components to quality.
“Unlike wine, olive oil does not improve with age,” Coleman said. “Freshness is a key component to quality. The olive is a stone fruit related to the cherry and the plum. In this sense olive oil is a fresh fruit juice.”
Amatuzzi, an expert in wines, has seen people’s faces light up when they have a good wine “but it’s wine,” he said. “They know it’s grape juice. With oil, the reaction is remarkable.” The pair has been offering olive oil and wine seminars around the country.
Members received olive oil, shipped to their door, never more than a few months after each harvest. That’s a far cry from olive oils sold in many grocery stores, where olive oil can languish on shelves, oxidize, and lose its vibrancy and nuances.
Coleman, who also works as the chief oleologist at Eataly NY and has been a judge at international olive oil competitions, has gotten a good feel over the years for the American palate, which recoils from extreme bitterness, for example.
He’s just flown back from Italy where he’s working with two producers he loves, Domenica Fiore in Orvieto, Umbria, and Frantoio Franci in Grosseto, Tuscany, to make Grove and Vine’s custom blends.
The first oil to be released for the holidays, and being shipped out at the moment, is from Domenica Fiore. While there he blind tasted 10 separate tanks of its olive oils, harvested at different times and from different plots.
“I’ve selected an early hand-harvested monocultivar Canino oil from a single high-elevation grove. The Canino olive is a special cultivar grown between Lazio and Umbria,” he said via email. “It is a very small fruit which ripens later than other cultivars in the region. It has an interesting flavor profile, which is both complex yet balanced with hints of freshly cut grass, almond, artichoke, and a delayed, elongated peppery finish.”
For the spring harvest, he will fly to the Southern Hemisphere—likely Chile or Australia.
Each 375-milliliter bottle comes with information about the producer, region, cultivar, and harvest date, tasting notes, wine pairing notes regional recipes.
It is a revolving selection, so consumers are always receiving new oils. “You end up tasting the world of olive oils,” explained Coleman.